In response to a persistent concern by employers, HR managers & others that the ADAAA will let anyone with an injury claim a disability & seek protection under the law, I’m keeping an eye on cases to show this isn't a valid concern. A recent case clearly demonstrates this belief isn't true.
A project manager, who injured his back in a workplace fall & whose chiropractor restricted lifting to no more than 20 pounds, lost his case.
This employee was terminated shortly after, during a purported reduction in force. He sued, alleging that he was fired because of his disability. The employer argued that it neither considered him disabled nor was he disabled.
The court agreed. It said a minor lifting restriction wasn’t enough to trigger ADA protection. In addition, it was proven that he could clearly still do his job without any accom¬modations since his work didn’t require any lifting.
Remember, not every injury causes a disabling condition that qualifies for ADA protection. However, the ADAAA should shift an employer's focus away from whether the person is disabled to exploring needed workplace support(s) to keep a valuable employee working successfully in the company. If a company is downsizing or reorganizing, make sure that an employee's disability isn't the reason for termination.
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.